According to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences (ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap -OCW) school classes still average around 23 pupils. But a reaserch conducted by AD newspaper with government figures obtained using freedom of information legislation, shows that there has been a 5% increase in the number of classes with over 26 children in the past five years.
‘To say there has been no increase in the average class size is burying your head in the sand,’ said Jan van de Ven, founder of lobby group PO in Actie. ‘Nine years ago, you could count the number of classes with more than 30 children on one hand, but now almost every school has at least one.’
Parent’s organization Parents & Education (Ouders & Onderwijs) receives almost weekly phone calls by parents who are worried about class sizes every week. Teachers complain about the too large classes.
According to directeur of Ouders & Onderwijs Peter Hulsen, parents think that classes are too busy and that their child is not getting enough attention,’ director Peter Hulsen told the AD newspaper.
Classes of 30 pupils mean a lot more work for teachers. ‘Thirty children means 30 meetings with parents, 30 reports to write, 30 tests to mark,’ SP-Kamerlid (Socialist party MP) Peter Kwint said. ‘This illustrates the need to take steps. Primary school teachers are currently lobbying for more pay and for more measures to reduce the work pressure. They say that although the new government has promised extra finances, it is not enough.